We arrive on Orcas Island and stay with friends at the Victorian Valley Chapel property. Evan’s parents, Allen and Sarah retired here from Los Angeles and have created a blissful retreat, absolutely beautiful place for quiet contemplation, romantic weddings, and music filled winter times. Don’t miss a visit if you are in the area. Erin and Evan are some of our best friends from L.A., so we love hanging out with them anywhere. They are perfect hosts, showing us the sights of Orcas Island.
Orcas Island dazzles with natural beauty 360 degrees around. Unfortunately our camera catches a tiny portion of the beauty.
We spend a day with Erin and Michael at their farm and farm house in Deer Harbor. We met Erin while studying Mayan Healing in Belize. She has a thriving massage and doula practice in addition to farming delicious organic produce and chickens. We have fun catching up, working on a farm again, and riding around Orcas Island. We check out 10 lush acres of land that Michael and Erin manage and invite us to farm with them!
After 3 days on Orcas Island, we prepare to continue onto the mainland and tragedy strikes. While negotiating curving gravel roads with a fully loaded bike, Mags loses control just a curve beyond Stu’s vision. When he arrives, Mags is unconscious on her belly with her bike on top of her. Luckily we aren’t far from the house and emergency services are called. We are airlifted off Orcas Island to the mainland. Doctors at the first hospital are worried she has a brain injury and we ride an second ambulance to Harborview Hospital in Seattle, a trauma center for 4 states. We stay overnight for observation and in the morning we get clearance to leave- no major brain injuries, most likely a moderate concussion. Discharge diagnosis: Distal Clavicle Fracture (lateral collar bone break) likely needing surgery. The hospital asks to keep Mags’s dented cracked helmet with rock wedged into the air vent as educational tool.
Sidenote to all who ride on wheels: PLEASE WEAR A HELMET. If I wasn’t wearing a helmet, the rock would have wedged into my skull instead of the helmet. Surgery not to mention recovery from brain injury are much more difficult. You may never recover.
We hang out in Seattle a few more days for a follow-up doctor visit and stay with Lynn and Christine (yet another wonderful friend met studying in Belize). We buy a car to lug our bike stuff back to California. Bike tour over 🙁 Mags flies back to Southern California to have surgery and recuperate at her parents home. Stu drives.
More Orcas Island photos here
The accident was about a month ago. I’m happy to say that I’m recovering well. The surgeon reported that I have very strong healthy bone and that the plate and 8 titanium screws are doing their job. Pain still comes and goes, but now I have freedom to move my arm below the elbow, shower, and go out! I have 3 months to normal function and 6 months before I can join contact sports and high impact activity. I have to say that this whole experience has given me a different outlook on injury and convalescence. I certainly have a better understanding of what my patients may go through after injury and surgery. I was completely dependent on others to bathe, house, feed, and dress me. I am so grateful for all our friends, family, and most of all Stuart for providing support when I needed it the most.
Our plan is to stay in Irvine until I’m stronger. I spend my days resting, reading, writing, catching up on pop culture, doing light exercise, and eating my mom’s nourishing meals. Stu is working remotely for his former workplace in San Francisco, and also enjoying long runs and bike rides in the area. We celebrate Stu’s birthday with a picnic in a hot park.
Tomorrow we take a quick trip to Washington D.C. for a funeral. Stu’s grandmother passed away two days ago. We will miss her. Time is precious. Life goes so quickly. Love all you can.
Rest In Peace Lois Matthews (April 11, 1923 – September 17, 2012)
More Grandmom photos here